Mechatronics is a multidisciplinary field of science that combines mechanical engineering, electronics, computers, telecommunications, systems and control engineering. Tan is a fresh graduate student, having a passion for robotics and in love with machines having their own behaviour to support human’s lives. How they work, how to make them work hooked him.
Tan loves to challenge himself with new things and enjoys the sweet result that it brings to him after he conquers his successes or make him stronger anytime he fails. When Tan sees children with disabilities, it breaks his heart and it became a strong motivation for him to invent devices that help those kids to overcome their problems and difficulties in life.
Tan wishes to make his personal story become his team’s story, so “I” can become “We”. “I’m going to share our story in the simplest way so that everyone can understand the good cause of our project and join us to help the vulnerable groups in Viet Nam”. Pham Nhat Tan humbly said.
The JRD group started as a research project turned into a start-up business. But to achieve their ultimate goals, they must adapt to be profitable and join the business world. But they want to show everyone that they are not just in for profits but they are also a social-based business too. They create good social value for the societies, especially children with disabilities. By understanding their mission clearly and committing to their core values they believe that profit will come to their business soon once their good core values shine.
Back in June, the JRD took part in the UNICEF and Partners (U.S. Consulate General in HCMC, the Israeli Trade Mission to Vietnam, UNICEF, DRD, Fablab Saigon, and Vietnam-German University) supported three-day Make-a-thon, TOM Viet Nam for children with disabilities. It has given JRD and other groups the opportunity to expose to an open environment where they can find more chances to make their research paper transform into a real physical prototype. During the event, JRD met with other teams of technical experts, who have the same dream and passion for robotics. They came to the events, shared their ideas, experiences and knowledge among themselves, and sometimes they even helped each other to overcome technical issues.
After TOM Viet Nam, JRD continued to participate in Hatch Fair 2016 - Social Innovation Camp. Hatch Fair 2016 aims at discovering and developing scientific and technological innovations, turning them into sustainable solutions for issues in the field of environment, health, culture, education, and more. The teams with most potential products will continue to be supported, incubated, and funded towards sustainable start-ups and business. In 2016, the competition is organized nationwide in three big cities: Ha Noi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City. JRD product has captured good attention from potential investors, visitors and the group received good advice and suggestion from technical experts and engineers on how to improve the product to fit with the market.
ChallengesDespite the fact that the group have many good strengths, they can’t deny that they also face many challenges that might become a great threat to dismiss their project. Tan worries that all team members having their own commitments and jobs means they might not have much time to meet and continue the project in high commitment mode. Everyone need to get a decent job and get well paid for their living, therefore the group could not focus on completing their prototype as planned. Lack of direction is also a big worry of the group as the prototype has to be tested on real patients and they must adapt its function based on the doctor’s advice in order to fit the patient’s needs. However, the team only have permission to test their product with the need knower, Lieu Hoai An. They don’t have a committed doctor who can provide medical advice for their product.
Aside from that, many team members don’t get support from their family to this project and it became a great source of pressure.
Support NeededJRD’s plan is to complete the first prototype by mid-2017 and pretest in hospital and physical therapy centres. In order for JRD to keep their plan, they really need financial support from big international agencies, INGO, business, hospitals, and investors. They would like to call for support not only financially but also technical support from physical therapists, doctors, and engineers.
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Story and photo by Truong Viet Hung